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Category Archives: Travel

London LifestyleLondon Lifestyle
We arrive into London excited and ready to settle into our usual routine. After a two hour ride through the city, admiring the passing affluent neighbourhoods of Kensington and Marylebone, we arrive at our flat in Camden. Our place to call home for a month.

We settle in quickly by setting up her baby-cot and highchair and unpacking all of our clothes. While we tumble a load of laundry we head to the nearest market to pick up a few essentials. Before long we are all fast asleep in our own rooms, with our clothes neatly put away, and a fridge with breakfast ingredients.

We head out the next morning to purchase more essentials for our home by walking through Camden. I am surprised at how familiar everything is to me and lead us to a breakfast place while she sleeps in the pram. After, with two flat whites we stop in at Whole Foods and Sainsbury to pick up groceries before I head out on my own.

There is the typical infuriating moment of taking transportation in London, but I chalk it up to just experiencing London to the fullest. I eventually decide to walk to my destination and end up loving the result. I sit in a cafe with a friend while our babes crawl around on the wooden terrace and it is a moment. There I am sitting in London with a friend from Vancouver, whom I officially met in Barcelona, with our two small children playing together.

I come home and prepare Isla for bed fixing her up a delicious supper, running a bath, and placing her in white pjs before placing her in her bed. I run across the street to a small grocers to pick up a bottle of wine and settle in on the couch.

I wake up with our babe and quietly we escape upstairs to not disturb Adam. I play soft classical music while I fix her a breakfast of tart yogurt (something she did not enjoy two weeks ago) mango and apple puree and a bottle of milk. We spend the morning enjoying the time together, in the quiet, just the two of us.

We walk as a family through Camden towards Kings Cross before ending up at The Albany for a late lunch. Never allowed into Pubs in Vancouver with Isla it is a relief to be able to pop in with a baby to enjoy a meal and feed her as well. Later that evening when she has been put down for the night we make a delicious Indian dinner of Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala which we savour and enjoy.

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London lifestyle, London Lifecoach

As I sit here in my London flat watching my baby explore every nook and cranny that she can find I realize how much I have grown, expanded, in the past couple of years since we have moved away from Europe. In some ways I am proud of myself. Yet sometimes I still struggle with ‘am I sharing too much? not enough?’.

I am unsure of what instituted the shift, but it is clearly there.

Before the summer of 2012 I loved announcing where I was traveling to, where I was staying, while also offering and accepting lunch and coffee dates to socialize and meet new people. I got so excited sharing the news of the new (or familiar) places and would anticipate the types of people I would meet along the way.

Summer of 2012 we made the decision to move home to Vancouver (where we quietly travelled around Europe for a month before returning) and then suddenly I found myself facing reverse culture shock and a mild depression, and since then I have become more secluded in my online profile. If you follow me on Instagram it is probably the only place where I am little more carefree with my posting. Facebook feels like a chore and Twitter feels like another universe for me.

So while I sit here in my London flat I realized that I didn’t say anything about us traveling back to Europe. That this is not just for a two week holiday but for a longer period than normal. And how excited I am that we actually made it happen!

On Instagram I’m posting almost every day of what this past month has looked like for us, but here on my blog it has been quiet and on Facebook I haven’t said a word.

This has been the result of not posting on social media for months and then really taking a look at what feeds me and what drains me.

I have become more private in what I post; keeping our lives a little more to ourselves and not so much of a “look at me and what I am doing”. And it feels good, really good to have some privacy.

But on the other hand I also understand that you might be wondering why it is so quiet here and perhaps where I have gone.

The answer is I am living life. It is lovely and beautiful. In the past month we’ve visited Paris, Amsterdam, Warsaw and are spending the month of October in London before flying to Porto, Portugal for the month of November. This has been a dream come true for us, one that I didn’t think was going to happen back in July but so happy that we were able to make a reality.

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Amsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoach

I wake early, just after the sun has risen in anticipation for the day. Isla is awake as well but we get her to sleep for a almost an hour more after a quick feed. When we are all awake we let her play in her crib while him and I connect body and soul. We finally separate sweaty and breathless, but so in love.

I catch the tram easily with her in the pram towards my destination. I walk over canals and through the familiar streets of the affluent neighbourhood of Jordaan where I finally see a friend standing on the corner waving at me. My heart skips a beat and a smile is wide on my face thrilled to see her after two years. We hug, no kisses, as it is true friendship and a hug is much needed. We slip into a café where Isla quickly becomes the centre of attention while we pick up where we left off. Conversation flows easily, with no need to rush words or push silence aside to fill the space. It is easy and comfortable. We walk the streets of Amsterdam feeling like tourists and expats at the same time. We remember moments of spending time together two years before while also filling each other in on the finer details of our lives that we’ve missed that can’t be conveyed through iMessage or Skype. We talk of business, big dreams for the future, fame and what it is like to be ‘known’, having our feelings hurt by our peers, what it means to be inspired and how it feels when inspiration seems to be missing, how living abroad is one of the best things we could have done for our relationships with our loves, how we miss living in another country but love being surrounded by family, and how life is just wonderful even with hardships and hurt.

Before we know it the time has slipped by all too quickly and we’re hugging each other tightly, saying see you soon. As I see her descend the escalator a lump catching in my throat as I miss her already. When I get back on the tram to head to our apartment I feel exhausted, physically and emotionally and wish I could just crawl into bed. When I make it home I find strength to keep going on to prepare Isla for bed, have a conversation with Adam, and also write a newsletter and emails that have been sitting in my inbox for days.

We wake early again the next morning, jet lag finally behind us. We prepare for the day and before 9am we’re out the door and on our way to a café for our morning coffee. We sit and enjoy the smooth taste before heading out into the rain, capturing a few images along the way and just enjoying the time for us. We walk towards the centre and before noon we decide to head home for lunch. As we enter the apartment the rain turns to showers, which by the afternoon turns into a thunderstorm. I decide to stay indoors for the day with Isla where we play on the carpet, have an afternoon nap together, and watch Winnie the Pooh before she heads to bed.

Then sadly it was time to pack our belongings back into our suitcases and prepare for another journey. Our time in Amsterdam was too short and we thrived having our own space, but soon…oh so soon we will be in London and will settle in once again.

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Paris lifestyle, Paris lifecoach
We continue our way of exploring cities by finding cafés that serve the best coffee and find one in the Japanese district within Paris. We both order flat whites and entertain Isla as we watch passersby through the traditional Parisian windows. We walk, for hours, exploring areas of the city we’ve never experienced before and places that are very familiar. We stop in parks so that Isla can stretch her legs in a playground and she smiles at us, completely happy to be with us. We walk by the Louvre, Pompidou, Hotel de Ville, Notre Dam, then spend a few moments in the Luxembourg Gardens before heading back to the apartment.

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When we arrive we bath her in the kitchen sink and she soaks the counters and the floors. It’s such a sight, her pink naked body next to the white porcelain…her face completely lit up in happiness.

Our goal the next day is the Eiffel Tower and by the afternoon we are ready to go. We walk the whole way there with Isla cooing at us from her pram. When we arrive we throw down a white blanket and play with her on the grass with the tower directly in front of us. This is what dreams are made of, but this is more than a dream, it is our reality. We walk along the Seine taking in the beautiful slate rooftop houses as the canal cruises go by. We spend the night talking with our hosts till late in the night, them even later than myself.

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We leave the next day on the train to Amsterdam and when the train manager comes over the speakers to welcome the guests and begins speaking in Dutch Adam and I look at each other, laughing. The language, not beautiful or eloquent by any means, but so familiar. The train shoots down the track at such speed that before we know it we arrive in Amsterdam and everything comes flooding back. The sound of the tram, the walking signal, the smell of fries with mayo, the flower market, the endless canals, the way the house smells when you turn the radiator on, how the dryer has to be emptied of water after each cycle, and the sound and weight of euros in my wallet.

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It almost feels like we never left.

We walk the streets of Amsterdam, hardly ever using a map as everything is so familiar. Yet we still find streets we have yet to discover and enjoy the new sights and wares through the windows. As  all the boutiques are closed on Mondays we stop into a new cafe, opened recently by Kiwi expats and are welcomed with smiles. Two flat whites in white cardboard take away cups. When we wander into Hema and the V&D I recall why I loved the stores so much, everything is sleek and has such beautiful aesthetics, but without the expensive price tags of North America. As we stroll towards one of our favourite cafes for lunch we run into a friend and laugh at the odds. We catch up quickly before scheduling a time to meet up later in the week, and before we kiss three times on the cheek in farewell, she directs us to a different cafe with delicious sandwiches and amazing red velvet cake.

We stop in the famous Vondel Park where the sun beats down on us and Isla enjoys the freedom from her pram. She crawls all over me before standing, using the pram as her support, then explores the grass some more. Always talking and smiling, no matter what she does.

Once she has been put to bed we put the last pieces of dinner together before settling into the leather couches. Having space to ourselves is exactly what we needed after more than a week of being hosted in different homes. We are forever grateful for those who offer their space, but we realize that after 10 days of sleeping in other people’s beds and using other’s kitchens that there is no place like home – no matter where that home is. When dinner is finished we watch the season premiere of The Good Wife and I think that how lovely that we are exploring familiar cities but seeing it through new eyes, but filling tiny moments with pieces of regular life as well.

Amsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoachAmsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoachAmsterdam lifestyle, Amsterdam lifecoach, European lifecoach

Live your desired life thumbnailDownload the Live Your Desired Life workbook and learn the 4 easy steps on how I started to live the life I always dreamed of that you can start implementing immediately.

T he flight to Europe was good yet tiring. None of us getting the sleep that we need that we spend long moments at the back of the plane swaying her and shhhing her so not to disturb the other passengers. By the end of the flight she has made friends with all the flight attendants and many of the passengers with her smiles and willingness to be friendly with everyone.

A private driver is arranged to pick us up to drive us through London. As we pass by iconic locations we all nod off in the back before we are woken up by our driver once we have reached our destination. Our friend pops her head out the window in a familiar and friendly greeting, it is so good to see a dear friend after many months apart.

After the ‘hellos’ and ‘how are you’ are spoken I sink my tired body into a comfortable bed while holding Isla close to me as we nap after our long journey. I know we both need it and we sleep for 2 long hours with our bodies close. It is a moment I etch into my memory. After the nap we take a walk around the neighbourhood where I am distracted by the beautifully painted doors and the quaintness of everything, oh how I miss Europe.

Later in the evenings we take our babes into the tub and watch them playing and splashing in a bath together. We notice  the way he always wants to hold her hand or kiss her head. The way she smiles easily and enjoys every moment to the fullness that she can.

Once the babes are fast asleep in their white pjs we gather around the table for Indian takeaway. The conversation flows easily despite everyone’s fatigue. When Mister cannot hold his eyes open any longer and I anticipate a long night in front of us him and I call it a night and curl up together on a small single bed.

The next morning we have a late sleep in, 10:30am. Breakfast is prepared for us of warm croissants, toast, as well a tart yogurt with berries to pile on top. When our babes take another nap and our husbands work away on their laptops, we escape to walk around the city easily catching up feeling right at home with each other while we walk the streets of London. All too soon Mister and I need to pack everything back up for our train to Paris.

Another driver is arranged who whisks us right to the front doors of St. Pancreas so that we can easily check-in just as the modern “all aboard” is about to be called. As experienced travellers we easily find our seats and put our luggage away and watch the other passengers board while Isla squeals in delight out the window. As the train departs from St. Pancreas she looks at us with wonder filling her eyes before turning back towards the window to watch the English countryside pass us by. Eventually she falls asleep in my arms, and while he works beside us, I drift off to sleep as well.

We roll into the streets of Paris and the familiarity hits us. We know exactly where we need to go before our driver picks us up to take us from the North of Paris to the South. She sits in my lap completely content to watch the city go by before asking to be held by her Tatuś where she quickly falls asleep. We are greeted with open arms and smiles into our friend’s Parisian flat, where it seems to go on forever, a rarity in Paris. The Eiffel Tower spotlight sweeps into the kitchen as we tour their home and beautiful french music plays on the speakers.

We talk late into the night before we cannot keep our eyes open a moment longer and quickly fall asleep. In the middle of the night Isla wakes unsure of where she is and cries to be held and swayed. We keep her quiet as possible before getting her back to sleep where we all have another late sleep in. We enjoy a typical European breakfast of french baguette topped with honey ham and a sharp cheddar cheese. When we are all fed I take Isla in her pram for a walk to the Luxembourg Gardens where she falls asleep under the shade of a tree while I sit in the iconic chairs watching children push sailboats in the fountain. Her and I make our way back to the Parisian flat walking down now familiar streets and when she is fussy in her pram the French ladies stop to coo and entertain her.

The next morning we rise early and are proud of ourselves, but before long we realize that we aren’t over jet leg yet, so  I prepare our bed and we have a family nap together for two hours. Eventually we make it out onto the streets of Paris to explore a hidden area called The Streets of Flowers where cobblestone streets and quaint houses covered in vines and flowers meet. We make our way to a park to lounge on the grass and watch Isla explore the world around her.

We slowly make our way back and just as we enter the flat the whole city of Paris is caught in a flash thunderstorm. We watch the city get soaked from the comfort of our home as the smell of rain wafts through the open windows.